• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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Aztec Chicken Casserole

If you ask a student at The Culinary Institute of America how they eat at school, you’ll probably get an indifferent shrug. It’s not that the food is horrible (granted, it is made by students, so there is the occasional bad seed). And ordinary college students don’t have the incredible selection of American, Asian, European, and Mediterranean food. But the classes at the CIA rotate on a three week basis, meaning every three weeks, the same dishes reappear. So after three years, even CIA students get tired of pad thai, gnocchi with duck ragu, and poblanos rellanos. But there is one dish I still crave, even now. It’s a simple and tasty casserole that’s perfect for the apartment kitchen. Plus, it’s easy to freeze and great for leftovers.

Aztec Chicken Casserole

Served 4.
Leftover Potential: Freezes and reheats very well. Made 3 meals after the initial dinner.

2 Tbsp oil
12 corn tortillas

1 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
salt, as needed
pepper, as needed

1 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 (14 oz) can corn
3 poblano peppers, seeded, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, as needed
pepper, as needed
jack cheese, grated, as needed
sour cream, as needed
guacamole, as needed

1. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Lightly fry the tortillas until slightly crisp, about 1 minute per side. Set aside.
2. In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 34 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes and lower heat to a simmer. Season with oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Simmer until good flavor has developed.
3. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, corn, and peppers, and saute until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until aromatic, 1 minute more.
4. In a casserole dish, begin layering the ingredients, starting with the tortillas. Then layer the tomato sauce, sour cream, corn and poblano mixture, and repeat. On the top layer, place tortillas, tomato sauce, and cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven until bubbling, warm, and the top is golden brown. Serve warm with sour cream and guacamole.


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